Launch of a Pilot Test for an AI Facial Recognition Fare Payment System on Kumamoto City Trams:
Hands-Free Travel with a Japan-first Technology, Enabling Fare Payment Without Physical Tickets on Trams

Dec. 18, 2023
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”), in collaboration with Knowledge Creation Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, “KCT”), Marubeni Network Solutions Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, “MNETS”), R.D.Works Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, “R.D.Works”), Lecip Holdings Corporation (hereinafter, “Lecip”), and Aplus Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, “Aplus”), hereby announces the commencement of a pilot test for an AI (Artificial Intelligence) facial recognition fare payment system on the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau’s trams. Starting from December 20, 2023, this test aims to enhance user convenience by enabling smooth boarding and alighting processes through a “hands-free” and “face pass” system.

info_231218_1 Tram used for the demonstration experiment

info_231218_2 Face recognition on a tablet device


In this pilot test, users will preregister with the mobile season ticket app “QUICK RIDE” or the prepay-enabling "BANKIT" app. The system will then identify and authenticate users whose faces were preregistered on these apps, as well as confirm that automatic deductions were made from ”BANKIT” users’ prepaid cards. The test will run until March 31, 2024, evaluating the system’s impact on improving user convenience and boarding efficiency, with the aim of an early full-scale implementation of this facial recognition system.

In recent times, while cashless payments have become quite common, the proliferation of various payment methods (IC cards, contactless credit card payments, QR codes, app-based payments, etc.) has occasionally led to user difficulties, such as struggling to find the relevant app on their mobile phone or being unsure of which reader to use.

Marubeni has previously conducted a pilot test for a facial recognition payment in public transportation in Toyama and Nagano Prefectures. Building on these experiences and the current pilot test, the company aims to promote contactless, cashless payments in public transportation and extend the system to surrounding facilities (such as stores, stadiums, inns, leisure facilities, and administrative buildings). This initiative seeks to create a society where everyone, including the elderly, minors, and foreign tourists, can move around more conveniently and hands-free. In addition, Marubeni is developing a system that will also integrate major credit cards and app-based payments from an early stage to make the system more user-friendly for everyone.


Pilot Test Details:
Participants in the experiment will be required to install the app-based prepaid card “BANKIT,” provided by Aplus, and register information such as their name, date of birth, and facial data in advance. For mobile season tickets, users will have to register their facial data through the “QUICKRIDE” app provided by Lecip.

Upon boarding, users will only need to briefly look at the tablet device installed in the vehicle for less than one second for facial recognition, completing the verification and payment process. This system enables fare payment even if both hands of users are occupied, if they have forgotten their IC cards or smartphones, or if they do not have any cash on their person.

For more details about the experiment, please visit Marubeni Network’s website (in Japanese) at (https://www.marubeni-network.com/kaoninsho-kct/ ).

Target Vehicle: Applies to some vehicles only. (Applicable to 10 formations)
All ultra-low-floor trains with fixed operating hours are eligible.
(*Please see the timetable on the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau website for the operating hours of the ultra-low-floor train.)
Target Route: Target Route Applies to all lines
Target Period: December 20, 2023, to March 31, 2024

Note: The period and routes may change depending on the progress of the experiment.
For more information on the targeted routes, please refer to the Kumamoto City Transportation Bureau’s website (in Japanese) at: http://www.kotsu-kumamoto.jp/ ).

Company Roles:

Marubeni: Provision of a facial recognition system platform
KCT, MNETS: Project oversight and business feasibility study
R.D.Works: Development of facial recognition technology
Lecip: Provision of the mobile season ticket app (QUICKRIDE)
Aplus: Development of a payment system (BANKIT)

Company Overviews:

Company Name Knowledge Creation Technology Co., Ltd.
Location 4F, Otemachi First Square East Tower, 1-5-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative Masayuki Kawamura
Establishment July 2008
Main Businesses 1. Project (SI) Service Business
2. Solution Service Business
3. Infrastructure (Professional) Service Business
4. Web Content & Education Service Business
Website https://jpkct.com/


Company Name Marubeni Network Solutions Co., Ltd.
Location 2-11-5 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Igarashi Building
Representative Toru Kobayashi
Establishment September 1999
Main Businesses 1. Network outsourcing business
2. Mobile network business
3. Operation services business
Website hhttps://www.marubeni-network.com/


Company Name R.D.Works Co., Ltd.
Location 18F Yebisu Garden Place Tower, 4-20-3 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Representative Hideki Saito
Establishment August 2003
Main Businesses 1. Consultation of strategy, finance, supply chain, and technology
2. Providing system integration and an AI platform
3. Domestic sales agent for the facial recognition product, “Saffe”
Website https://www.rdworks.co.jp/index.html
(Facial recognition business website : https://www.saffe.jp/)


Company Name Lecip Holdings Corporation
Location 1260-2 Kamihou, Motosu City, Gifu Prefecture
Representative Shinnosuke Sugimoto
Establishment October 2010
Main Businesses 1. Manufacturing, sales, and service of electrical equipment for buses and railways
2. Manufacturing, sales, and service of various industrial machinery and automotive parts
Website https://www.lecip.co.jp/index.html


Company Name Aplus Co., Ltd.
Location Nihonbashi Muromachi Nomura Building, 2-4-3 Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Representative Takayuki Shimada
Establishment April 2009
Main Businesses 1. Shopping credit business
2. Card business
3. Payment business
Website https://www.aplus.co.jp/index.html

Related News Releases:
Jun. 1, 2023
Launch of a Pilot Test for Facial Recognition Payment on Public Transportation in Toyama Prefecture: Experience Hands-Free Travel!

May 10, 2023
Launch of a Pilot Test for Facial Recognition Payment on Public Transportation in Nagano Prefecture: Experience Hands-Free Travel with a Japan-first Technology!